The present Tipton County courthouse was designed by Adolph Sherrer. He had taken over the Indiana Statehouse project when architect Edwin May died in 1880; five years after the completion of that project in 1888, Scherrer began work on the Tipton building, which was built of sandstone in a Romanesque style with a clock tower that rises 206 feet above the ground, including the flagstaff on top. It was built by Pierce and Morgan of Indianapolis during 1893 and 1894 at a cost of $170,988. It is one of several Romanesque courthouses dating from the 1890s that are still in use.
County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.
Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, the collection of revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.
Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to terms of four years. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.
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Population by year
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,577 people, 6,469 households, and 4,748 families residing in the county. The population density was 64 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 6,848 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.35% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. 1.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.1% were of American, 22.8% German, 12.7% English and 7.3% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 6,469 households out of which 32.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.30% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.60% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.00% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.60 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,546, and the median income for a family was $56,080. Males had a median income of $42,109 versus $25,061 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,926. About 2.90% of families and 5.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.50% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.